The Patriot Post® · Planned Parenthood's Steal Small Voice
Planned Parenthood is no “small” business. In 2018, America’s hulk of an abortion provider reported net assets of $2.2 billion — so the idea that they would be competing for stimulus loans is absurd. And yet, to the shock of people up and down East Capitol Street, that’s exactly what dozens of its affiliates did. Even Republicans, who’ve come to expect this kind of larceny from Planned Parenthood, have a hard time believing it. While mom and pop shops struggle to survive, the Democrats’ favorite abortion tycoon managed to rip off $80 million from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). And the Trump administration wants it back. Now.
When Fox News broke the story late Monday night, Republicans were furious. Planned Parenthood, an organization that already rakes in a half-billion dollars in taxpayer dollars had the audacity to cheat Americans out of $80 million more. What’s worse, they poached that money from desperate employers, who need those loans to stay afloat. “Every dollar Planned Parenthood took from PPP was a dollar that did not get to legitimate small businesses,” Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.) fumed. And, as several other senators pointed out, they had to lie to get it.
“They just don’t qualify under the affiliate rules,” Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) insisted. “It’s as simple as that. Leave aside all the other issues, they do not qualify.” The CARES Act made it clear that only nonprofits with 500 employees or less were eligible. Planned Parenthood, at 16,000, doesn’t even come close. “It’s hard to conclude anything other than that Planned Parenthood committed fraud,” Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) argued.
That ought to be enough, Hawley and 26 other senators wrote to Attorney General William Barr, to trigger an investigation. Planned Parenthood knew the rules. As they point out, “[The group’s] own political action committee, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, issued a statement on the CARES Act after the Act’s passage in the Senate, saying: ‘The bill gives the Small Business Administration broad discretion to exclude Planned Parenthood affiliates and other non-profits serving people with low incomes and deny them benefits under the new small business loan program.’”
“It seems clear,” the senators argue, “that Planned Parenthood knew that it was ineligible for the small business loans under the CARES Act long before its affiliates fraudulently self-certified that they were eligible. As you know, fraudulent loan applications can trigger both civil and criminal penalties.” And let’s not forget, FRC’s Connor Semelsberger points out, this money is different than the funds Planned Parenthood normally gets. These loans could be turned into grants specifically to cover payroll costs. In other words, during a time of unprecedented death and loss, Americans would be directly paying abortionists’ salaries. It doesn’t get more disgusting than that.
Of course, the other outrage is this: Planned Parenthood didn’t need the loans, because guess what? They were still operating! Even in states where governors explicitly told them to stop, they went ahead performing abortions anyway — cramming women into unsafe waiting rooms and openly defying states’ orders. While everyone else was taking a hit to their bottom line because of the lockdown, their cash registers didn’t stop ringing. In fact, some affiliates bragged they’d never been busier! Fear, it turned out, was good for business.
“They need to return this money, and they need to be held accountable,” Rubio said sternly. “And whoever helped them do this knowingly [also] needs to be held accountable. That includes potentially the people on staff at the Small Business Association (SBA), the banks, and anybody else.” But don’t expect liberals to sell out their pals. “What’s really problematic about this,” Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.) told me on “Washington Watch,” is that “while the Democrats want to call out companies that received the money legitimately… [those businesses] gave the money back, whether it be Ruth’s Chris or Shake Shack or others… [Now] we’re trying to push on Planned Parenthood to give the $80 million back. And they’re resisting big time… We expect [Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s oversight committee] to go after these folks as well.”
But don’t hold your breath. This is, after all, the same Nancy Pelosi who tried to tear down the barriers to that money in the HEROES Act. “The Democrats want the nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, to qualify for taxpayer money meant for small businesses, churches, and charities,” Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) told the Daily Caller. “Congress ought to devote every cent of federal funding to life-saving causes, instead of paying off purveyors of death.”
Planned Parenthood doesn’t need a bailout. It needs a blackout of taxpayer funds!
Originally published here.
The Sacramento King Faces off with DOJ
If they’re protesting, at least they’re courteous about it. In a show of good faith, pastors all across California aren’t just determined to hold services, they’re giving the government fair warning they will. In a polite but firm letter to Governor Gavin Newsom (D), thousands of pastors have let the state know that they’re reopening May 31 — whether the state likes it or not!
Like a lot of people, Pastor Jack Hibbs, of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills, says the lockdown has been the longest wait of his life. He’s tired of liberals like Newsom kicking churches down the road without an answer. “[He’s] rejected or refused our attempts to reach him. We sent him a letter and a video of us reopening. And [there’s been] no connection whatsoever].” So, he and 2,300 pastors have signed on to move — with, or as it looks like now, without him.
And amazingly, he has the green light from local leaders to do it. “Not only did we let them know what we were going to do, as we did with the governor, we sent them letters, or we spoke to them personally. The local governments literally said — I’m going to quote one mayor… ‘'We’re surprised you guys have waited and been so patient this long. We thought you’re going to open up sooner.’ When we heard that, we asked, ‘What do you mean?’ And they said, ‘We need you. Our police officers go to your church. We’ve got judges that go to your church. We’ve got city managers that need the presence of the church.”
What about the governor’s restrictions? Simple, Jack was told: they won’t enforce them. Nor should they, says the Department of Justice’s Eric Dreiband. “At least as of [Tuesday],” Eric explained on “Washington Watch,” “California’s permitting all kinds of things — the entertainment industry, workers who support commerce, and things of that nature — to go forward with social distancing standards. But at the same time, California is prohibiting faith-based services, even if they adhere to social distancing standards. So this raises, for us and I think for everyone, concerns about the free exercise clause of the First Amendment.”
And the DOJ said as much in an ultimatum to Newsom’s administration. “Government," the attorney general’s team warned, "may not impose special restrictions on religious activity that do not also apply to similar nonreligious activity… Simply put, there is no pandemic exception to the U.S. Constitution and its Bill of Rights," the letter insists.
For Dreiband’s office, who’s been duking it out on behalf of churches in court, California’s situation is a little different. "Here,” he told listeners, “What we’ve done is we’ve gone directly to the governor… We copied the attorney general of California on the letter as well. And our hope is that working with the governor and the attorney general, the other authorities in California, that they will reflect upon what we said to them and that they will agree that their reopening plan does raise these concerns about religious liberty and work with us [to] remove [those] obstacles.”
Jack, like most every other pastor, isn’t just committed to ministering — he’s committed to making it safe. “We’re investing a huge amount of money in a special decontamination process,” he explained. “We are literally covering every classroom, every office with a very, very high-tech antibiotic type of atmosphere. This is all in preparation… We’ve been having prayer meetings on Sunday nights. And each person or each family of six has a dot, a circle to stand within… Last Sunday, we had 1,500 people show up, and everyone was six feet apart. Cleanliness, professional cleaners, signage. Wash stations literally all over the campus. Our normal service times, we’re adjusting that …because we’re scrubbing the sanctuary and facilities in between services. That’s how far we’re going.”
He’s determined, like us, that the pandemic isn’t getting in the way of God’s work. “[W]e all like to talk about revival, preach on and write books about it,” Jack said. “But if we study revival, we’re looking at what could possibly be one of the greatest revivals in American history… There’s no doubt Satan has meant this pandemic to be an evil, fearful thing — but God’s going to turn it around for good. And if the church doesn’t counter the narrative of fear, then who will?”
Originally published here.
FRC Goes Live with the President and Cabinet Members!
These are incredibly challenging times, but if America ever needed its spiritual leaders, it’s now. “Pastors,” Secretary Ben Carson said Thursday morning, “make all the difference in the world.” If the faith community bands together, he insisted, “this virus will not defeat us.” Thursday, the faith community did in fact band together — joining FRC for our first-ever National Virtual Pastors Roundtable. Together with President Trump, Secretaries Mike Pompeo and Chad Wolf, Attorney General William Barr, and others, we turned what used to be our annual conference into its biggest gathering yet — by going virtual.
Despite his busy schedule, President Trump spoke to the thousands of participating pastors for more than 20 minutes — covering a range of topics from China’s responsibility for the coronavirus to the progress his administration has made in deregulation, cutting taxes, and rebuilding the military. He also devoted time to the issue nearest and dearest to the faith community’s heart: religious liberty. “The spiritual strength of our citizens is vital to our nation,” he agreed, reiterating his support for churches to start the return to normalcy. “I want to get them open soon,” the president insisted — pointing to all of the “pressure” his administration has been exerting on states that have been less than cooperative. As far as he’s concerned, the church in America has been a “spectacular” friend to him, working alongside the White House to protect life and freedom.
The country, President Trump insisted, is ready for a “transition to greatness.” Churches, his attorney general said later, are important to that transition. “Religion is the foundation of our entire system,” Barr pointed out. When society moves away from core moral principles, there are “practical consequences,” he warned. At the DOJ, Barr reminded pastors, the religious liberty task force is working hard to stop those violations when they happen. But it’s also important, the chief law enforcer pointed out, for people to go out and exercise their religious liberties. He pledged that the DOJ will continue to press for accommodations to be made to churches and will make sure every U.S. district attorney’s office around the country has a coordinator for religious liberty.
For Secretary Wolf, that freedom has a practical impact. From his perch at Homeland Security, he knows that the faith community is usually the first and last one on the scene of a crisis. It’s these pastors and congregations, he said gratefully, who are on the front lines providing food, security, and transportation to the people who need it. So the more we can do to protect their involvement, the better.
The rest of the world, Secretary Pompeo encouraged, will know us by that fruit. Pastors, he urged, have a role to play in fighting for that freedom for everyone. “Bringing the light of Christ to the world,” he insisted, is every Christian’s responsibility. “Even in the most restricted places, we can open hearts” if we pay attention to the cracks of light and continue to work day in and day out. Let’s hope this event helped remind men and women of faith that yes, the crisis has been difficult. But the mission to advance biblical truth doesn’t just go on — it's essential to recovering.
Originally published here.
The Biggest Virus Story the Media Isn’t Telling
Believe it or not, there’s plenty of good news in the virus fight — if only someone would write them! National Review’s Rich Lowry tried to fix that, doing a deep-dive on the president's supply line victories that have changed the way America fights the outbreak. Don’t miss Lowry's stunning interview on the Trump successes the Left doesn’t want you to hear!
Originally published here.
This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.